The use of digital technologies has changed in how we can reach out to and engage with our communities. There’s also been a dramatic change in the way communities are taking part, accelerated since the Covid pandemic. We have seen new cohorts of online users emerge. The elderly, for example, have become more connected than ever before.
Online communities are becoming more powerful and increasingly important, particularly when you consider that currently, nearly 80% of the UK’s adult population has a smartphone, and that by 2025, it’s predicted that 95% of the UK’s population will be using one!
Local Councils need to make it as easy and interesting as possible for their communities to make time in their busy, challenging lives to engage with them.
So, when it comes to connecting with communities digitally, GoCollaborate has developed an innovative online community consultation and engagement platform, designed to help parish, town and community councils with efficient, meaningful and inclusive community engagement to create prosperous and more sustainable communities.
Our community engagement platforms are being successfully used to reach, inform, and engage wider audiences and are transforming how communities work together.
The community engagement platforms we build can help councils prepare and deliver successful neighbourhood development plans and community regeneration and sustainability projects. This includes using our platform at the feasibility stages of project proposals when evidence from community participation is core to submitting a strong business case to access funding streams, such as those available from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The low cost of the platform is also now seeing some councils exploring its use for consulting on precepts. This opens the possibility of precepts being set to more fully reflect both the needs and aspirations of communities.
Many people in the community don’t have the time to attend a town hall meeting or participatory workshop, such as families with young children, those with busy schedules or access difficulties. GoCollaborates’ community engagement platform is accessible and enables you to reach them efficiently to ensure a balanced community response.
Our platform has many functionalities over and above simplistic online survey forms and social media platforms. This is because the user engagement experience can be enhanced with imagery and engaging visual content about proposals, or updates on delivery plans. The user can single out areas of most importance and socially share this with their social groups. The platform also supports ‘safe’ online public chat and debate and submission of private comments or questions. This can yield rich information and invaluable community insights and help transform the way you work with your communities. This is something that first generation platforms do not give.
Throughout a consultation you will be able to keep track of consultation progress, including engagement rates and demographic responses at the touch of a button, where information is displayed on the client portal dashboard. If needed, you will be able to quickly act on this information, such as where geographic or demographic participation levels are low and an area of concern. This will assist you in making robust and inclusive decisions.
The hidden costs, resources and time needed to run an effective consultation cannot be underestimated, especially unlocking the voices of your online communities.
Our dedicated team is on hand to help you with tailor made engagement and consultation support programs and support you to integrate digital consultation with traditional engagement activities to optimise community engagement and feedback. Our community engagement platform can save you time and money, will ensure you meet GDPR requirements and will give you peace of mind.
Why not join us at SLCC’s Planning Summit on July 5th, to learn how you can broaden your community engagement to reach beyond those that generally always participate, why ‘digital community engagement’ should be a vital ingredient of your community engagement strategy and how to avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by other Local Councils when preparing their NDP.
*Commercial news content is written and provided by the supplier. The publishing of this piece does not imply endorsement or recommendation by SLCC for goods or services*